UK PM to visit India, strengthening business ties on agenda
New Delhi: Expansion of business ties, exploring new areas of cooperation and the Vodafone tax dues issue are likely to figure during talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his British counterpart David Cameron here on Thursday.
Cameron will be here on a day-long visit, his third in two years, on his way to Colombo to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on November 15-16.
The British Prime Minister will hold talks with Singh on number of crucial bilateral, regional and international issues.
Both the leaders are likely to deliberate on boosting cooperation in trade and investment besides enhancing ties in areas of mutual interest.
Issues relating to Vodafone`s tax dues and other matters relating to business and investment are likely to figure in the meeting.
Vodafone, a British company, is facing tax liability of over Rs 11,217 crore for purchase of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa`s stake in Indian telecom business Hutchison Essar in 2007.
The Government has agreed to resolve the issue amicably but there has been no significant development in the case so far.
During his visit to India in February, both India and the UK had decided to start negotiations on a civil nuclear pact to facilitate entry of British companies into emerging Indian atomic power sector besides agreeing to explore ways to enhance cooperation in diverse sectors.
India and the UK have vibrant economic ties and the two- way trade rose to about USD 16.15 billion in 2012 from USD 12.56 billion in 2010-11. The bilateral trade between India and UK stood at USD 16.25 billion in 2012. During April 2000 and November 2012, India has received FDI worth USD 17 billion from the UK.
There are about 700 Indian companies which have operations in the UK out of which over 70 are listed on London Stock Exchange.
Cameron will arrive here on Wednesday night. After holding talks with Singh, he will leave for Kolkata where he will meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
In Kolkata, he will also visit Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Joka and will interact with the students and alumni there.
He will also visit the Indian Museum to see restoration work and interact with an NGO.
Cameron`s visit to India comes over a week after UK announced its decision to scrap the controversial 3,000-pound visa bond scheme for some "high risk" overseas visitors to the country including those from India which was scheduled to be implemented on a pilot basis this month.
India, which had raised the matter with the UK Government, welcomed the decision.
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